France and Malaysia

France and Malaysia

Political relations

The French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault made an official visit to Malaysia on 28 and 29 July 2013. The visit, which was described as “historic”, helped to “open a new chapter” in our bilateral relations. It was the first visit at that level since the visit of Prime Minister Najib Razak to France in 2009.

The President of the French Republic also had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Najib Razak on two occasions, during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summits in Vientiane, Laos (November 2012) and in Milan, Italy (October 2014). Our defence cooperation is especially extensive and based, in particular, on a Joint Strategic Defence High Committee which meets every year. In this context, the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian travelled to Malaysia in 2014 and 2015.
The Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman visited France on 10-11 December 2013. He was, in particular, received by his counterpart Laurent Fabius. The meeting was an opportunity to show our will to intensify political dialogue.

Visits

To France

• 6-7 October 2009: Prime Minister Najib Razak.
• September 2012: the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Bernard Giluk Dompok met his counterpart the French Minister of Agriculture, the Food Industry and Forestry Stéphane Le Foll.
• 13-16 November 2012: Malaysian Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Peter Chin who attended the International Energy Forum.
• 19-21 June 2013: visit by Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian Defence and Acting Transport Minister.
• 5-8 November 2013: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who attended the 37th UNESCO General Conference.
• 10-11 December 2013: Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman.
• June 2014: Ms Rosmah Mansor, wife of the Prime Minister, who attended the Global Summit of Women.
• 21-24 October 2014: Minister of National Unity Joseph Kurup.
• 4-5 December 2014: Malaysian Minister of Defence, on the occasion of the Joint Strategic Defence High Committee.
To Malaysia:
• 13 February 2012: Mr Gérard Longuet, French Minister for Defence and Veterans’ Affairs
• 25-26 March 2012: Mr Kader Arif, French Minister Delegate for Veterans, attached to the Minister of Defence.
• 26-27 March 2012: Mr Eric Besson, Minister responsible for Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy, attached to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry.
• 6 June 2013: Ms Nicole Bricq, Minister of Foreign Trade.
• 28-29 July 2013: official visit by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, accompanied by Ms Nicole Bricq, Minister for Foreign Trade, Ms Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Innovation and the Digital Economy, and Ms Hélène Conway-Mouret, Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
• 2-4 November 2014: Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence.
• 13-14 April 2015: Mr Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad.
• 1 September 2015: Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, on the occasion of the Joint Strategic Defence High Committee.

Visit section on Bilateral visits on the French Embassy’s website.

Economic relations

In 2014, Malaysia was our 32nd-largest trade surplus in the world, and our cover rate has remained stable at 131%. Trade between France and Malaysia fell in 2015 to €3.5 billion (€4.2 billion in 2014). Our trade balance with Malaysia shows a deficit, although it showed a surplus in the previous two years (€562 million in 2014 and €647 million in 2013). We had a market share of 1.5% in June 2015.

This decline in our exports is mainly due to the fall in sales in the aviation sector (-62%), which account for 38% of our exports. The French presence nevertheless increased in recent years: in early 2015, nearly 260 local subsidiaries of French firms opted to operate in Malaysia, compared to 168 in 2006. The French community has increased dramatically in recent years and now stands at 3600 registered persons (1666 in 2005).

For more analysis and statistics visit www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/se/malaisie/(in French)

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our scientific cooperation is based on priority areas targeted by Malaysia which has made research and higher education two of its priorities in the framework of its development plans. Partnerships have thus been created with laboratories and French departments (industrial production, biofuels and renewables, factories of the future, and oceanography, economics and management, tourism and aviation). Our long-term commitment is reflected in the secondment to Malaysian institutions of seven French researchers and the presence of some 20 guest researchers, and in financial and other support for more than 50 French-Malaysian projects. In the field of academic cooperation, the Malaysia-France University Centre (MFUC), which is intended to promote exchanges between the two countries and was inaugurated in 2006, has strengthened existing programmes and launched new cooperation projects. In 2014, almost 1000 Malaysian students were enrolled in French higher education.
In the linguistic field, efforts to promote the French language are supported by the Malaysian Education Ministry’s policy in favour of teaching French, which is the first Western language learned after English.

More information at www.ambafrance-my.org and www.alliancefrancaise.org.my

Updated: 02/03/2016

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